Stroke: memory problems can be harbingers

A stroke is often perceived as an unpredictable event. In many cases, specific symptoms announce the cerebral infarction at an early stage.

In addition to neurological impairments such as visual disturbances and a temporary feeling of numbness, memory disorders can also be harbingers of a stroke. This is what Chinese neurologists from the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Chiayi found out in a meta-study.

It was based on data from 18 studies that were carried out on a total of 121,879 patients. The researchers published their results in the “Canadian Medical Association Journal”.

Minimum mental value as a parameter

The memory problems – called cognitive impairments by doctors – were measured with the so-called mini-mental status test, which is also used to diagnose dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The team around Dr. Meng Lee then set a mini mental status score of 25 points. The available patient data were evaluated on this basis.

Stroke risk increased by 40 percent

Factors such as increased age, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity were also included in the risk assessment. Taking these factors into account, it was found that patients with cognitive impairments or dementia had a stroke rate 40 percent higher than those who had no memory problems.

The risk of an ischemic attack is even higher

The risk of getting a transient ischemic attack (TIA) increases by as much as 65 percent in patients with mental deficits. A TIA is a temporary circulatory disorder in the brain, a kind of “mini-stroke” that is often followed by a real stroke after a while.

On the reasons why memory impairment obviously has one stroke favor, the researchers are not yet entirely clear. However, they suspect that those affected already had brain damage caused by silent heart attacks or cerebral circulation disorders.

A stroke can be prevented

In order to minimize the risk of a stroke, everyone can take action themselves. Many risk factors can be influenced. These include high blood pressure, smoking, a big belly, an unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle. They are the basis for 80 percent of all strokes. This has been shown by the analysis of several thousand stroke patients in North America.

High blood pressure is the most dangerous

The doctors around Martin O’Donnel from the Canadian McMaster University had compared the data of 3,000 stroke patients with those of 3,000 healthy people. High blood pressure was the most important risk factor: it increases the risk by more than 2.5 times. In every third stroke, high blood pressure plays a role. Smoking is almost as dangerous as it doubles the risk of stroke.

A healthy lifestyle, especially a balanced and low-fat diet, plenty of exercise and not smoking could make a significant contribution to minimizing the individual risk of a stroke.

Important NOTE: The information is in no way a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online cannot and must not be used to independently make diagnoses or start treatments.

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